It was a sloppy affair, but the North Carolina women’s basketball team defeated Appalachian State 56-43 on Sunday for the team’s fourth consecutive victory — despite shooting just 29.8 percent from the field.
Appalachian State (1-7) got the ball rolling, hitting a 3-pointer to start the game. First-year big Jaelynn Murray answered with a three of her own to tie the game at three for UNC (6-2). Two minutes later senior guard Jamie Cherry followed her teammate with another long ball, as part of a 8-0 Tar Heel run that made it 8-3.
After the Tar Heels got the lead up to 12-7, the Mountaineers came roaring back to tie the game at 12. Redshirt junior guard Paris Kea answered with a three-pointer to regain the lead at 15-12. The Mountaineers had a chance to tie the game at the end of the first quarter, but Mountaineer guard Tierra Wilson slipped and airballed a shot at the buzzer.
The first points of the second quarter came on free throws from UNC first-year big Jocelyn Jones to extend the lead to five. Two possessions later, the lead grew to eight when Kea found Cherry for her second 3-pointer of the game. After a jumper by Kea, the Tar Heel lead grew to 22-12.
The Mountaineers came back, notching eight straight points to make it 22-20 with 6:05 left in the half. Neither team failed to score for over two minutes before Kea hit a mid-range jumper. The Mountaineers answered with a three from Nicola Mathews to cut the deficit to one. A few possessions later, the Mountaineers took a 26-24 lead after another made three.
With less than a minute remaining in the half, Kea found Cherry for her third three and UNC retook the lead at 27-26.
Turnovers and missed shots highlighted the start of the second half, with neither team scoring in the opening three minutes. Sophomore guard Taylor Koenen landed the first blow of the second half on a layup. The Mountaineers answered on the next possession to cut the lead back to one.
The Tar Heels clung to a one-point lead, but a Mountaineer jump shot put the Tar Heels behind with less than three minutes left in the third quarter at 31-30. Kea was fouled with 2:57 left in the quarter, but only made one free throw to tie the game. The next time down the court, the Mountaineers converted a layup to go up 33-31. Kea tied the game right back, soaring into the lane and hanging in the air before hitting a short jumper.